Of course your hotel wants loyal customers — it's every business's goal. But you can't just pay lip service to customer loyalty; you need to start with loyalty as the goal in your hotel communication strategy. Becoming someone's go-to brand takes work, effort, and time. This is especially true in the hotel industry — customers trust that your brand will meet their expectations, whether they are visiting from the next town over or across the globe.
When the only resources available were the Yellow Pages and paid media advertisements, it felt safer for travelers to stick to a brand they knew. But today, guests can go online and read thousands of reviews, view other travelers' pictures, even see a street view of a property. With this information at their fingertips, guests feel more comfortable trying something new. As a result, hotels must work harder than ever before to build trust and loyalty. With that in mind, it's important to have a strong communication strategy in place. But what must hotels focus on to ensure success?
Customer Service and Convenience
It comes down to exceeding expectations. Yes, that's another buzzword that's often thrown around, but that's where loyalty comes into play. Exceeding expectations is when guests are so happy, they talk about their experience for days, post about it on social media, and can't wait to visit your property again. It seems simple, but it's not. And make no mistake — guest expectations are constantly changing, which presents a challenge.
So, what exactly do guests expect now? Great customer service and convenience are almost always at the top of the list. On the surface, it seems that the definition of good customer service is relatively easy to define: anticipating needs and quickly resolving any problems. For example, the Oracle Hotel 2025 study found that 41 percent of hotel guests would be more likely to visit a hotel more frequently if it uses cutting-edge biometric authentication software to create a more personalized experience for them.
Offering mobility with an enhanced user experience is no longer innovative; it has become the expectation. This means it's imperative to build the hotel communication strategy on mobility so that staff can provide the service and convenience guests expect when they walk through the door.
Building a Hotel Communication Strategy
According to Skift, one international hotel brand enables guests to manage their stays through an app and reported a direct impact on overall revenue, surpassing $1 billion in revenue in 2016. The brand also reported wide adoption, with almost 1 million guests using the digital room check-in feature and up to 6,000 guests utilizing the app's digital key option daily.
App users can also message the hotel with questions or to make requests. This level of open communication would be impossible without the functionalities afforded by in-app chat APIs and unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) platforms. With UCaaS, hotel staff have access to all customer communications from wherever they are on the property, with whatever device they have in-hand.
For example, with a mobile business communication system specifically for hospitality, a guest can approach staff to comment on a housekeeping issue or to make a dinner reservation, and the employee can quickly handle the request in real time on their mobile device. The guest is happy at the level of service received, and the employee can quickly move on other tasks.
Hotels can further increase loyalty by embracing the benefits of chat APIs. By embedding a pre-coded instant messaging chat system in their consumer mobile app, guests can handle all interactions in one place, whether they're messaging with staff about a room service request, making reservations for a spa treatment, or arranging an early checkout.
Customizing the Guest Experience
The next step is understanding the specific amenities guests expect. A guest at a family resort may expect kid-friendly content on the in-room entertainment center while a business traveler will want to know about meeting rooms and workspaces. Use mobile tools whenever possible to give guests control over their experience, such as turning on a light in their room from the elevator or avoiding a wait upon arrival by using mobile check-in from their Uber.
Walk through every task guests perform throughout their stay and try to anticipate every need they might have — then consider how technology could make them easier. For example, the hotel chain mentioned above uses data from past visits to proactively provide information to guests, such as texting fitness center hours to someone who frequently visits the gym.
It's the little things that the guests notice. And by making them more comfortable and their stays more pleasant, hotels just might earn their loyalty.
Explore Vonage's travel and hospitality solutions to learn more about how better communication increases guest loyalty.